Macaroni and many cheeses

This is Week #19 of my 2011 cooking challenge! Click here to view all recipes from this challenge. All recipes created for this challenge come from the Food and Wine Annual Cookbook 2010: An Entire Year of Recipes.

Ok, so I haven't had the best week in the world. Everything seems to have exploded at once. Why does that always seem to happen? By Saturday of this past week, I just wanted comfort, and preferably in the form of food. I was pleased to see that this comforting macaroni & cheese recipe was next on the list for my challenge! That could not have worked out more perfectly. I prepared it while my boys napped and then served it to them for dinner (they both loved it!) and, after they were in bed for the night, I went downstairs and scooped myself a huge bowl full of the comforting cheesiness. I sat in my little spot on the couch as I devoured its splendor and sipped wine and flipped through cookbooks. I suddenly forgot about the insanity in my world for a bit, and just enjoyed my comforting down-time.

Preheat your broiler. In a medium saucepan of boiling salted water, cook 2 cups of elbow macaroni until al dente. Drain well.

Meanwhile, in another medium saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons of butter over low heat.

Whisk in 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour until a paste forms.

Gradually whisk in 3 cups of milk until smooth.

Bring the sauce to a boil over moderately high heat, whisking, until thickenend.

Off the heat, stir in:

2 cups mixed shredded semihard cheeses (Mimolette, aged Gouda, Vella dry Jack)

Salt and pepper

Stir until melted.

Stir the macaroni into the the cheese sauce and transfer to a 9x13 glass or ceramic baking dish.

Sprinkle 2/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese over the top.

And broil 4 inches from the heat source for 4 minutes, or until richly browned. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Thanks for being there when I needed you, mac & cheese.

Click here for a printable recipe!